Dragon’s Den star calls for a second referendum - and has the perfect response for a Brexiteer

Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis on Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis on Question Time. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis has called for a second Brexit referendum, claiming no-one knew what they were voting for, including himself.

Paphitis, who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum, told the BBC Question Time audience that a general election usually was "the perfect opportunity" to remove the politicians from power we disagree with.

But he said that in these circumstances a "general election sorts nothing" and that, as "everybody knows a lot more than they did three years ago", a referendum would be far more logical.

To cries of "rubbish" from Julia Hartley-Brewer, he continued: "The shareholders have voted by over 50% but the executive hasn't executed it. If you want to change things the shareholders have to vote again by over 50% and an election does not do it.

"So the only way you are going to do it, and I know myself for saying it, but I am compromising.

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"As you know, I voted reluctantly Leave, but I am here telling you I'm prepared to get off my big high horse, take what's right for the country first, not what I originally thought.

"Like in business, when things change, you change your plan. So I'm for now putting an election to one side and having a clear referendum with, in the bill, the government have got the authority to execute the 'will of the people'."

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"Now everybody knows what's happened, let's have this referendum, because it's divided too many families, too many people, and let's agree after that referendum the government executes it.

"No more referendums, no more arguments afterwards, it's all over, and then we have a proper election on the economy and things that matter after that."

Paphitis was challenged for his comments by a Leave voter who told him: "Three years ago I knew exactly what I was voting for, I stick by it, and I'll continue to stick by it and nothing has changed."

The businessman said he wanted to ask her a question as she started to shout about the 17.4 million voters who backed Brexit - despite the fact he had already admitted he was one of those Leave voters.

"Do you know what's going to happen? Do you know what's going to happen?" he asked.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen," she told the panel as some started to laugh.

But Paphitis said: "Oh right, so we're going to jump off a rock into the sea, we don't know how deep it's going to be, but I'm sure it's going to be fine."

As the Brexiteer continued to say nobody knows what's going to happen, he said "we can't live our lives like this!"

He added that he could not run a business like that without the certainty, saying "I'd go bust!"

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